how to create watercolor texture in your paintings

Easily Create Watercolor Texture with these 3 Common Household Items

When you are creating artwork a little bit of watercolor texture can really help take your art to the next level if done properly.

This article covers three straightforward ways to add some character to your paintings using three simple household items that you most likely already have on hand. There are so many other techniques, but I wanted to give you something that you could try right away. 

The 3 Household Items I used

1. Salt

This is a great trick to create snow, stars, or frost. It is more noticeable and dramatic when used on darker colors. The salt is dropped or sprinkled onto wet paint. The effect will vary depending on the coarseness of the salt, thickness, and the wetness of your paint. If your paint is just damp it will have little or no effect. Make sure you let the paint dry completely before removing the salt. Try it out at different stages of wetness and see what watercolor texture you get.

Table salt (Fine)

Watercolor Texture - fine salt  Krista Hasson
You can see how thick the salt was here and how it has left a dark spot where the salt was sitting. Thicker applications of paint will leave this effect. When painting a snow effect, you would want to use less salt. The result will be more believable.

Coarse salt

watercolor texture with coarse salt  Krista Hasson
Here I used a thinner paint and dropped the salt in right away. You will receive different results depending on how soon you drop the salt in. But if your paint starts to dry you will have little to no texture.


Your painting needs soft neutral places for the viewer’s eye to rest when looking at your art. If there is too much pattern in your painting the viewer will be overwhelmed.

2. Rubbing Alcohol

Dropped onto wet paint

watercolor texture with alcohol  Krista Hasson
As with any texture, the results will vary with the thickness of the paint and the amount and strength of the alcohol used.

Painted on dry paper

watercolor texture with alcohol Krista Hasson
I used a paint brush and painted on some of the rubbing alcohol. I then painted over it right away.

3.Plastic Wrap

This watercolor texture technique is nice for a stained-glass effect or for rocks.

texture with plastic wrap watercolor Krista Hasson
The plastic wrap is crinkled up and laid down on the wet paint. You can also move the wrap around when you first put it down to get the desired effect you want. It is not removed until the paint is completely dry.
texture with plastic wrap watercolor Krista Hasson
Here are the results after it was allowed to dry and the plastic wrap was removed.

This is only three watercolor texture techniques out many more. You can use just about anything you can think of to create an interesting texture. Texture can be a powerful addition to your painting but here is a word of caution, with texture, less is more. Too much texture will make your painting too busy.

What is your favorite way to create texture with watercolor?

Cheers, Krista

PS: Don’t forget to leave your comments below and sharing is always appreciated!

8 thoughts on “Easily Create Watercolor Texture with these 3 Common Household Items”

  1. Great ideas! I have used the salt before. It does work well. I’ll have to try the alcohol method next. I love these articles because they get me back in the studio. You are very inspiring!!!

    1. Thank you Alice, I am glad to see you are getting some inspiration from the article 🙂 Don’t forget to share your results in the facebook group!

  2. Thanks Krista – great suggestion about the plastic wrap in making rocks. Can’t wait to try it. Patti

  3. Kurtis Ladner

    Hi Krista,
    I experimented with some of this quite awhile back. Not too successful, so haven’t thought about trying again.
    Do you have a couple of paintings where you have done some of these techniques, so I could get a better idea??
    If you could e-mail a couple of sample paintings where the techniques were used, it would help a lot to “see” the effects.
    Thanks & cheers,

    1. Hi Kurtis, it takes some practice for these techniques. Once you get the feel for the wetness of the paint etc… it becomes easier. I will have to look through my archive to see if I can find some examples for you. 🙂

  4. I’m loving these reminders, I have these techniques buried in the grey matter and it’s wonderful to be reminded to dig them out and use them….. this is why I think you’re the cats meow ?…..

    1. Thank you, Judith, you are too sweet! It is funny how easy it is to forget things with all of the information you pack in over the years of painting 🙂

Comments are closed.